Does 2-year-old champ Uncle Mo still deserve to be the favorite in the 2011 Kentucky Derby after losing the Wood Memorial? How about Florida Derby hero Dialed In?
Favorites have actually held their own in the Derby recently with three wins
(Big Brown, Street Sense, Smarty Jones) in the last seven years and four
in the last eleven if you go back to Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. During
that timeframe the winning odds have ranged from 2-1 on Big Brown and
FuPeg to more than 50-1 on Giacomo and Mine That Bird.
Before the year 2000 you had to go all the way back to 1979 to find a winning favorite (Spectacular Bid). Uncle Mo
did not just lose the Wood Memorial. He came out of that race with a GI tract infection and is scrambling to get fit enough for the first Saturday in May. There were doubts about his ability to get ten furlongs even if everything went perfect. He has only had two preps and missed some training time recovering from his recent ailment. Plus, his first start this year was around one turn so now there are serious questions about the Pletcher trainee uncorking a top effort in the Derby. Dialed In
rallied from far back to win the Florida Derby but a couple of his highly regarded rivals (Soldat, Stay Thirsty) never fired and pacesetter Shackleford crawled home. Nick Zito's lightly raced colt was visually impressive in his two wins around one turn but looked ordinary in both nine furlong starts in Florida. He works have been few and far between and Zito has been reluctant to ship him all year. The one run closer will need everything to go his way in a 20-horse field.
Do either of the aforementioned colts deserve to be favored in the Kentucky Derby? Does the seemingly wide open Derby actually have a favorite?
I do not like the chances of Dialed In and Uncle Mo at this stage but they both figure to take plenty of action. Nehro
could be the wise guy
horse and might take more money than expected but he will be making his third start in six weeks under the Twin Spires. The Steve Asmussen trainee figures to have a hard time peaking in the Derby.
If you were the Derby odds maker what would your line look like?